by Mike Menath
If you’re like most business owners, running your operation can often feel like walking across a high wire, one mile up, in hurricane winds. Reaching your goals ahead is exhilarating each step of the way, but odds are there will be some major trip-ups along your envisioned path to success. And when these inevitable falls happen, the harsh truth is the people closest to you won’t be there to catch you.
A major OSHA violation? A workplace injury that results in a lawsuit? A significant product failure? A staff member who drives the newly painted company truck into a telephone pole? A fire in the equipment room? Unfortunately, the list goes on…and on…and on.
Though you surely have the most talented, inspired and dedicated employees on the planet, if these type of disasters strike your business, don’t expect to pass the hat to cover the costs of these potentially crippling set-backs. Even if it was 100 percent their fault.
No. You are on your own when it comes to business losses. Sadly, many organizations are just a bad day away from financial ruin. They are just one key stumble away from shutting their doors. So, as you’re walking the high wire today, how does your safety net look below?
The safety net most sharp business owners chose is providing themselves with adequate insurance coverage. But are the insurance carriers going to actually catch you if you fall? Well…they most certainly will. And they do this well. But…and it’s a big but…it’s incumbent on you to make sure you’ve weaved together the policies properly that comprise your safety net.
All it takes is an oversight here, or an inadequate strand of coverage there, and you’re going to find out at the wrong time your net is incapable of covering you when you need it most. So how do you really know if you’ve got the right safety net? The better question is, “Who are you working with to help you build it?” This is what separates one insurance broker from another. And this is where experience, knowledge and technical expertise makes all the difference. Choosing the right professional may actually be your most significant business decision.
Are you working with the right pro? Ask yourself these questions as you’re making that decision:
- Are they representing a single carrier?
The major carriers today provide sophisticated layers of coverage. They are often companies with a proven record of backing up their products. But, most specialize in one area or another when it comes to commercial insurance. They may offer a superior General Liability package, but their worker’s comp offering is weak or non-existent. If you’re working with an insurance broker who is representing a single carrier, there is a good chance there will be sizable gaps in your coverage.
- Are they part of a team of knowledgeable professionals?
The knowledge it takes to deeply understand the risks involved with workplace injuries and OSHA violations is much different than comprehending the vast complexities of medical insurance. If you are working with someone who is telling you they have a “basic understanding” of all things in insurance, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
- Are they performing comprehensive and annual reviews of your coverage?
Ensuring that you’re well insured is one of the most critical business activities you can take as an entrepreneur or high-level executive. If you haven’t done a comprehensive review of your coverage in a while, you should schedule one right away. And, as you know, your business is changing all of the time. If you’re not working with a seasoned professional to review your coverage in detail on an annual basis, you are leaving your company vulnerable to disaster.
- Are they assisting you proactively to avoid the use of your safety net?
This is a big one. It’s one thing to have a high performing safety net. It’s even better to not need it in the first place. Your insurance representative should be providing you with materials and expert advice in avoiding workplace safety accidents and OSHA violations. They should be keeping you abreast of the rapidly changing environment in healthcare. They should be giving you active feedback on how you can limit your exposure to risk. After all, if you are working with the right team of professionals, they are literally experts in accidents, and how to avoid them.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure you have the right safety net in place. Make no mistake about it. You’ll be writing the check if you’re wrong. But getting your safety net properly designed, installed and consistently maintained is the role of your insurance professional. Being a business owner can be lonely at times. But, building your safety net is one activity you should never have to do alone.
Menath Insurance is an independent insurance agency with headquarters in Incline Village, Nevada and an office in Reno, Nevada.